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The world’s largest randomised controlled trial of screening


    Clinical symptoms in ovarian cancer appear late, leading to poor outcomes from treatment. Yet early discovery of the disease usually results in excellent prognosis. Researchers at UCL started screening for the disease 20 years ago and now lead the largest randomised controlled trial of screening for any disease, anywhere in the world.

    202,000 healthy postmenopausal women have been enrolled in a trial comparing the outcomes of no screening with two different methods of screening. The trial, which will be completed in 2014/15, will have profound implications for national policy. Thirteen research centres across the UK are now collaborating in collecting data with support from Cancer Research UK, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research and the Eve Appeal charity.

    The serum databank represents a unique research resource and has been made available to academics across the UK and internationally. The costs of maintaining the databank have been met by charity and industry partners who pay for access to certain aspects of data.

    ‘The trial is a powerful demonstration of how our best scientists, clinical researchers and healthcare workers in the UK collaborate in research and involve volunteers nationwide to improve health.’

    Source: Lead investigator Professor Ian Jacobs, Director of the UCL Institute for Women’s Health

    The success of this project turned on having visionary leadership, sustained investment and the co-operation of a large local population – features that make research in London unique.

    For more information on the trial and the latest publications relating to it visit the Institute for Women’s Health website.